New Hampshire has been at the center of the 14th Amendment debate, with rampant speculation that the Granite State would block Donald Trump from the ballot. But New Hampshire’s Secretary of State, Dave Scanlan, said on Wednesday that the filing period for the presidential primary will open on October 11th, meaning Trump’s opposition won’t have enough time to block him from the ballot.
“At the news conference at the state house in Concord, calling in part to address legal efforts by some Republicans in New Hampshire to prevent the former president from getting his name on the 2024 ballot, Scanlan said that as long as Trump ‘submits his declaration of candidacy and signs it under the penalties of perjury, pays the $1,000 filing fee, his name will appear on the presidential primary ballot,’” Fox News reported.
The 14th Amendment
The controversy stems from the trending belief that Section 3 of the 14th Amendment may serve to disqualify Donald Trump from the 2024 election. Section 3, known as the insurrection clause, holds that “no person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath…shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”
The insurrection clause has never been used against a president, so the idea that Trump can be barred from the ballot is an untested legal theory.
And even if the 14th Amendment were ruled to apply to someone in Trump’s situation (i.e. a former president) the question remains as to whether Trump’s actions trigger the insurrection clause.
Meaning a lot of different things would have to break just so in order for the insurrection clause to apply to, and bar from office, Donald Trump. It’s not going to happen before October 11th. Still, wheels are in motion to prevent Trump from running in New Hampshire.
The opposition mounts
Bryant “Corky” Messner, a Republican attorney who won the 2020 Senate nomination (with Trump’s support) has been considering filing suit against Trump should the former president put his name on the New Hampshire ballot.
“Messner was very publicly questioning the former president’s eligibility to run for the White House, and cited Section 3 of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution,” Fox News reported. “That section disqualifies those who’ve taken an oath to support the Constitution from holding office again if they’ve “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the U.S. “or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.””
Messner isn’t the only one. John Anthony Castro, a Texas-based attorney (and left-field presidential candidate), has already filed suit in New Hampshire geared towards barring Trump.
But, as Scanlan mentioned Wednesday, “there is no mention in New Hampshire state statute that a candidate in a New Hampshire presidential primary can be disqualified using the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution referencing insurrection or rebellion.”
Scanlan continued, “there is nothing in the 14th Amendment that suggests that exercising the provisions of that amendment should take place during the delegate selection process as held by the different states. There is nothing in our state statute that gives the Secretary of State discretion in entertaining qualification issues once a candidate swears under the penalties of perjury that they meet the qualifications to be president.”
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor and opinion writer at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison listens to Dokken.